2nd February Query: How do YOU support your support system?

February's 2nd question for consideration (and blogging, and discussion, and videos...) is:

We talk often about how our loved-ones support us around diabetes, but not about how we support them. Being a "type 3" is hard work! How do you support the members of your personal diabetes support team? Do you ask how your diabetes is affecting them? What things can we do to make their support role easier for them to maintain?

Write your thoughts below, or write a blog and post the link in the discussion feed below!

Excellent topic.

I had already been diabetic for some time before I was diagnosed. I already had PN and retinopathy. I was sick as a dog and things got worse for several months as I gained control. I couldn't handle or see well enough to use my meter. I couldn't get the needle on the pen or even set the dose. I could not even tie my shoes, etc. My wife had to do almost everything for me. NOT a position I was used to being in. She is my main support. I support her by doing everything that I "can" do as things improve. I try to take back my own care and activities as soon and as much as I can. ANYTHING I can do to make her day/life easier I do. I am MUCH better than I was a year ago, but still have some limitations. I owe my very existence to her so I try any way I possibly can to show her the same concern and care as she has given me.

My husband is my main support and honestly he does lots more for me than I could ever do to repay him. He's rescued me from low blood sugar when I couldn't help myself, he cooks for me and makes awesome low carb muffins, he makes me laugh when I'm stressed over blood sugar swings. He's the half glass full to my half glass empty. He and my daughter are what make dealing with this disease worth the effort.

After 27 years of marriage, I like to think that we support each other but the scale is tipped way more towards him helping me because of diabetes. He's had short term medical issues but nothing that compares with 27 years of living with a spouse with diabetes. I thank him frequently and apologize often but there's just nothing I could do or say that would be close to enough to pay him back for all he does for me.

My wife puts up with my crap and there is allot of it. My wife also has friends and a life that has nothing to do with my diabetes. I have always encouraged her to spend time away from me. It was only about a year after our marriage that I was diagnosed. I have always tried not to take advantage of her good nature and if I can't keep up with her life style she is not expected to hold back. There is no way I can repay her for all the things she does for me.

She says Diabetes is my evil twin.

My husband saved my life by dragging me kicking & screaming to the ER with DKA when I thought I had the flu. He got me there just before I passed out comatose. Don't know how to repay that debt, even though I've tried by telling him & showing how much he means to me. Fear that I don't do a good enough job & feel horribly how diabetes has changed our lives & causes him constant worry.

I don't have a support system.

Yes you do, Pastelpainter, we're here. :)

True, thank you for putting me right.

And don't forget Renae!

My sister throws wobblies when she thinks I haven't drunk enough water or don't carry a sweetie with me - but my carer just takes it all in his stride, thank goodness!

The best way to support your diabetes support team is to work hard and do your best to control your diabetes!! Secondly, you should tell them that you Love Them every chance you get!!

When a friend asks an educated question about my diabetes, or shows a genuine interest to learn more, or checks in because they remember I'm on a new pump or am having a tricky BG week, I tell them how much it means to me. When someone has gone out of their way to remember what my life-with-d must be like, it means the world to me and it is important that I tell them.

And it's important that I remember there's no glory in toughing it out on my own.

I am lucky to have a loving wife that is also a RN. She has rescued me more than 200 times when I said I was fine, even though I fought her tooth and nail , sinking into a reaction. We have been together so long, she can just look at me and know that I'm not right. I don't thank my "Rock" enough.....She is everything to me. My partner, my doctor, my lifeline...She kicks my ■■■ into line and for that I am forever grateful. I made a promise to myself that I would help her help me as much as I can. She is almost as unlucky as I am to have Diabetes. She married into it and she has more than lived up to her end of the bargain. I am truly humbled by her tenacity to help me get through the rough patches.

Honestly, I don't do anything directly to support them. I think my loved ones just me to be happy and healthy, and by taking care of myself I'm doing just that. But I do try to "Pay it Forward", and support others with D (both online and in real life).

When I decided, at the last minute, to participate in the JDRF Walk-for-a-Cure in the fall, I sent out an emotional plea for sponsorships to my close family. The e-mail response I got from my father was quite touching, and was, in a sense, a reassurance that in our family we all help each other.

He wrote, in part (I won't copy the whole message) a message that brings a tear to my eye every time I read it:

"Mom and I are proud to sponsor you ... We're also extremely proud of you. You have lived with diabetes now for about 30 years. We watched you having to make adjustments in your life at a very young age. We know it hasn't always been easy, but you handled it with such maturity and with an obvious sense of self responsibility. Your act ... just reinforces to us what we already know about you. You are a compassionate and caring person with a good heart and a soft spot for those who could use some help. We could not have asked for a more wonderful son..."

As a parent myself, I believe that the best way to express gratitude and support to those who raised you is to adopt and embrace the values they worked so hard to teach. Every parent relishes the opportunity for their kids to make them proud, and I think I've done that.

Someone pass the tissues please! Your dad's message brought tears to my eyes as well Scott. That is really a heartfelt, touching message.

As a mom of a child with diabetes, I feel the most important person in Caleb's support team is his school nurse. She cares for Caleb as she would one of her own children. She does so much more for him than just help manage his diabetes. She is a key, perhaps the most key, person in his educational environment and one of the few people who has been with him consistently for three full years. I consider her a personal friend.

My support of her is to include her in making decisions in Caleb's care plan. She's there every day and has a perspective I will never attain. I defer to her judgment whenever I can and treat her with the respect that she has earned and deserves. I try to show my appreciation with gifts at the holidays, her birthday, nurse's appreciation day and the end of the school year. I help out in the office whenever I can.

I try and say "thank you" each and every day at least once. It's not difficult as she gives me so many opportunities to do so.

I'm forever grateful that my wife dragged me to the doctor, after a month of feeling like crap, drinking continuously, and losing about 10lbs in that month.
Now I repay; she had knee replacement so I am quite happy to be her primary care giver, on call 24 hours a day, while she recovers.
I also try to repay this group by encouraging the discouraged to get motivated and enjoy the life they have.

I'm fortunate to have a wife who sees that I take care of myself, without having to nag me, of course, having had two T2 insulin-using diabetic parents makes me very aware of it. So I try to stay on top of things without it being on top of me.

My support system is helping others who are diabetic, or might be becoming (aka pre-diabetic). I ask them how their numbers look, how things are going, etc.. People actually open up for you when you ask. I'm not there to make people feel bad, or guilty. But my role is to encourage all of us.

I'm currently planning on bringing up on Monday at our church council meeting, whether or not, they would be OK with me starting a diabetes support group (for our church and as a outreach to our community). I'm sure the council will be in favor of it. So I guess then I need to see if I'm sitting there by myself!!

I hope that I support my support system by giving back to others!

I think the Church should favor your decision to create a worthy outreach group. I bet more people with diabetes would show up than expected....I applaud your efforts!

This question reminds me that I probably don't do enough. I try to apologize to my spouse when I get behind on my end of the household responsibilities on sick/tough diabetes days—and let him know often that I appreciate his help with laundry, dishes, and the things I get bogged down with. I try to be an 'enabler' for his snowboarding habit… encouraging him to take time 'away' from me and the kids, to get a small reprieve for his constant care for us!